Discussion comes as USDA and Forest Service announce $61 million for wildfire prevention in Sinema-led Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Law
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema hosted a virtual discussion with the Coconino County Board of Supervisors to discuss forest health, post-wildfire mitigation, and how Sinema’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law will address these key issues.
“Our discussion allowed us to hear directly from Coconino County leaders about their needs, and how we can further support their local work—including wildfire mitigation and forest restoration. We will continue working with leaders across Arizona to ensure we’re continuing to get things done for communities across our state,” said Sinema.
During the meeting, Sinema discussed her work in securing infrastructure funding for Northern Arizona communities in her bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service recently announced that $61 million will be invested in Arizona this year for wildfire prevention from Sinema’s bipartisan infrastructure law.
The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law makes historic investments in strengthening and upgrading critical infrastructure systems to prevent and mitigate the impacts of wildfires and boost recovery from such disasters. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law authorizes and funds $8.25 billion for wildfire management, resiliency, restoration, and natural resources-related infrastructure. This includes:
- Road and Trail Remediation: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law provides $250 million for the remediation of Forest Service legacy roads and trails.
- Community Defense Grants: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law invests $500 million for Forest Service Community Defense Grants.
- Burned Area Rehabilitation: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law provides $450 million for the Forest Service and the Department of Interior to carry out Burned Area Rehabilitation programs.
- Hazardous Fuels: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law provides $2.4 billion for the Forest Service and the Department of Interior to reduce hazardous fuels on federal, state, and tribal lands. This funding would also go toward completing mechanical thinning, prescribed fires, firebreaks, Good Neighbor Agreements, and forest stewardship contracts that are at least 10,000 acres, among other forest management activities.
- Fireweather Testbed Programs: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law invests $100 million in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fireweather Testbed programs. These funds will be used to procure new systems and recapitalize existing and outdated systems to improve wildfire prediction, detection, observation, modeling, and forecasting.
- Forecasting and Detecting Drought: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law invests $80 million in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s high-performance computing — allowing the agency to improve drought, flood, and wildfire prediction, detection, and forecasting.
- Mitigating and Recovering from Wildfires: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law clarifies that the Emergency Relief program may include repairing damage from natural disasters over a wide area caused by wildfires — and allows the use of Emergency Relief program funding for protective features to mitigate the risk of recurring damage or the cost of future repairs from natural disasters.
- Watershed Protection: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law provides $300 million in funding for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program to help local communities recover after wildfires.
- Wildland Fire Mitigation & Management Commission Act: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law includes this bipartisan bill, which was unanimously approved in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, establishing a commission to study and recommend wildland fire prevention, mitigation, suppression, management, and rehabilitation policies.
- REPLANT Act: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law includes this legislation, which removes the current yearly cap on the Reforestation Trust Fund, and will help the U.S. Forest Service plant 1.2 billion trees on national forest lands, creating nearly 49,000 jobs over the next decade.
The Coconino County Board of Supervisors also thanked Sinema for co-sponsoring the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument Boundary Adjustment Act, which was recently reported out of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.